Commenting on concerns pregnant women may have regarding swine influenza, Professor Cathy Warwick, general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “Pregnant women with concerns about swine influenza Type A (H1N1) should take the typical precautions and safeguards they would normally use to protect themselves against ordinary seasonal influenza. Above all, ensuring good personal hygiene is paramount to preventing the spread of the disease.
As swine influenza is a respiratory illness, the risk to the fetus of infection is thought to be not high, however, women with concerns about their babies should approach their midwife and doctor for advice. Pregnant women wanting further information if they think they have been exposed to swine influenza, should refer to the Department of Health’s recommended websites, such as NHS Direct. If they have influenza-like symptoms, pregnant women should seek medical attention.
According to advice issued by the Health Protection Agency (HPA), the use of face masks will not prevent the spread of swine influenza. Pregnant women should be aware of this and not be lured into a false sense of security when using face masks.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that it is safe to consume well-cooked pork and pork-based products. The Food Standards Agency has published similar advice: http://www.food.gov.uk/safereating/animaldiseases/swine/
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised against travelling to affected countries:
For more information contact the RCM Press Office on 020 7312 3456 or email: email@example.com
Notes to editors
The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) aims to promote and advance the profession of the midwife. The RCM represents the vast majority of the UK's midwives and is one of the world's oldest and largest midwifery organisations, and celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2006. It is also a trade union. For more information visit the RCM website at www.rcm.org.uk.
The RCM has produced Guidance Notes on swine Influenza (H1N1) for midwives, to download the advisory, please visit:
The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) recommends the following measures to prevent contracting swine influenza:
• Always cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing - use a clean tissue or handkerchief.
• Dispose of used tissues promptly and carefully
• Wash your hands with soap and water to reduce the spread of the virus and dry hands thoroughly.
• Clean hard surfaces like door handles using with an anti-bacterial/antiviral spray.
• Stay at home if you have symptoms
Pregnant women should seek further advice from their midwife or GP if they have influenza-like symptoms or any other specific concerns.
Maternity Services guidance can be found on the Department of
health's pandemic influenza web pages at: